Singer, songwriter, and skilled guitarist Doug MacLeod has won four Blues Music Awards, including 2017’s Acoustic Artist of the Year. As a singer and guitarist, this New York native is a cross between John Hammond and Eric Bibb (check out the beautiful solo resonator-guitar ballad “Church Street Serenade”). Albert King, Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker, and James Armstrong, among others, have recorded his compositions. Break the Chain offers 12 blues originals that ponder Saturday night rituals (“Goin’ Down to the Roadhouse”), lost dreams (“LA: The Siren in the West”), politics (“Who’s Driving the Bus”), and aging (“This Road I’m Walking”). But MacLeod is first and foremost a keeper of the torch who celebrates Tampa Red and turns his attention to the blues itself. “What the Blues Means to Me” is a spoken-word piece that heralds the genre to which he has devoted his career. And “Mr. Bloozeman” takes a gentle poke at young players who haven’t paid their dues. Recorded live by Grammy-winning engineer Keith O. Johnson at Skywalker Sound and processed in HDCD, Break the Chain allows the vocals and sparse acoustic instrumentation to pop right out of my KEF LS50s.